Can't You Hear Me Callin': The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass

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9780316803816: Can't You Hear Me Callin': The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass

Compellingly narrated and thoroughly researched, this text is the definitive biography of a true giant of American music - Bill Monroe.

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The legendary mandolinist and bandleader Bill Monroe wove his personal vision through more than 60 tireless years of recording and performing, inventing almost single-handedly the music that is now known--in a nod to his first band, the Blue Grass Boys--as bluegrass. In his thoughtful biography Can't You Hear Me Callin', Richard D. Smith argues that "no single artist has had as broad an impact on American music." As evidence, he highlights dozens of country and rock & roll musicians, both white and black, who were inspired by Monroe's powerful mandolin playing on the Grand Ole Opry's weekly broadcasts. (Chuck Berry's "Maybelline," for example, is an almost note-for-note copy of Monroe's instrumental "Ida Red.") Until now, however, Monroe's hesitation to reveal personal details has kept his personality as mysterious as one of the foggy mountaintops he sang about in his signature high lonesome tenor.

Bluegrass audiences required a rural, Southern authenticity from the "Father of Bluegrass," and Monroe was slow to deny their exaggerations. Smith, however, dismisses many of the backwoodsy stories that grew up around the Monroe myth, instead emphasizing truer biographical elements: loneliness, fear of abandonment, compulsiveness with women. Perhaps the book's main scholarly step forward is the depth of interviews and research the author conducted with the women in Monroe's life. Indeed, Smith remarks that "without exception," none of Monroe's platonic or romantic women friends had been interviewed before. These women reveal a second Bill Monroe, relaxed and gentle in private despite his imperious manner onstage.

Much of the book relies on the archives of the late Ralph Rinzler, a Smithsonian folklorist whose plans to write a Monroe biography were thwarted by his untimely death. Taking up where Rinzler left off, Smith employs solid scholarship and thorough fieldwork, yet he remains clearly in awe of his subject, ranking him as a "true giant of American music" on the level of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, and Charles Ives. Can't You Hear Me Callin' is the first published attempt at a comprehensive, critical biography of Bill Monroe. Surely, it won't be the last--a testament to the enigmatic genius whose every note extended one of our most emotive and demanding musical genres. --Edward Skoog

About the Author:

Richard D. Smith is a journalist whose work has appeared in a number of publications including The New York Times and The Journal of Country Music. He lives in Rocky Hill, New Jersey.

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Book Description Little, Brown Company, United States, 2004. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Drawing on the traditional hillbilly music of his Kentucky childhood, Bill Monroe created the high lonesome sound of bluegrass; his accomplished mandolin-playing and haunting high-range voice, backed by fiddle and five-string banjo. The youngest child of eight, Monroe lost both his parents while still a teenager, and, as an adult, was a guarded, extremely private man. He was also a compulsive womanizer, whose longtime affair with the wife of a Tennessee highway patrolman was an open secret in Nashville. As one of the early stars of the Grand Ole Opry he inspired many young stars including Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley (whose first single for Sun Records was Monroe s Blue Moon of Kentucky ). Ironically, the success of rock n roll caused Monroe some lean years in the 1950s but by the early 1960s, the folk revival movement had rediscovered him as the Father of Bluegrass and he found a whole new audience which continues today. His accomplishments are ranked with those of other musical giants including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charles Ives and Hank Williams. He died in 1996, aged 84. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780316803816

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Book Description Little, Brown Company, United States, 2004. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Drawing on the traditional hillbilly music of his Kentucky childhood, Bill Monroe created the high lonesome sound of bluegrass; his accomplished mandolin-playing and haunting high-range voice, backed by fiddle and five-string banjo. The youngest child of eight, Monroe lost both his parents while still a teenager, and, as an adult, was a guarded, extremely private man. He was also a compulsive womanizer, whose longtime affair with the wife of a Tennessee highway patrolman was an open secret in Nashville. As one of the early stars of the Grand Ole Opry he inspired many young stars including Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley (whose first single for Sun Records was Monroe s Blue Moon of Kentucky ). Ironically, the success of rock n roll caused Monroe some lean years in the 1950s but by the early 1960s, the folk revival movement had rediscovered him as the Father of Bluegrass and he found a whole new audience which continues today. His accomplishments are ranked with those of other musical giants including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charles Ives and Hank Williams. He died in 1996, aged 84. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780316803816

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Book Description Little Brown and Company. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. 384 pages. Dimensions: 9.0in. x 6.7in. x 1.2in.Compellingly narrated and thoroughly researched, this text is the definitive biography of a true giant of American music - Bill Monroe. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Bookseller Inventory # 9780316803816

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